Blueprint Communities

The Blueprint Communities* program was created by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank) in 2005 to support the development of local leadership, collaboration across sectors, and strategic planning to make a lasting impact on the economic well being and quality of life for residents. In 2007, our team at The Hub began administering this program in West Virginia with generous support from FHLBank. While working alongside our community coaches from The Hub, 21 West Virginia-based communities have graduated from this program.

Blueprint Communities teams commit to build a shared vision developed by local residents and create a “blueprint” master plan to structure their local community development strategies and initiatives, and to kickstart local projects. We connect these teams with community coaching and expert training that equips them with the skills and resources they need to achieve the goals outlined in their community revitalization strategy. 

After graduating from the program, Blueprint Communities earn a 10-year official designation from FHLBank that opens the door to more funding and resource opportunities. 

How This Program Makes a Difference

Blueprint Communities teams create plans and learn the kinds of skills that enable them to make real movement toward successfully completing large-scale community projects with significant impact. Community teams focus on building the kinds of strategic plans that will form the foundation of community growth for years to come. Diverse stakeholders such as municipal leaders, nonprofit organizations, local banks, and real estate specialists form learn how to work impactfully both as a team and with the input of their fellow residents. 

They build the kinds of institutionalized support networks that lead to lasting change. Some Blueprint Communities teams have chosen to create nonprofit organizations and hire full-time staff to grow their capacity to implement initiatives and plans in their communities. 

Participants increase their knowledge and skill sets as well as develop new relationships that enable them to strategically grow resources and funding to advance projects. Although this program is largely focused on building the skills and soliciting community input to create effective plans, the most recent graduating cohort of communities was able to leverage more than $100,000 in additional funding while participating in the program. 

For more wins and milestones coming out of the Blueprint Communities program, see our “Stories” section below.

This Program is Ideal for…

This program is for residents who are enthusiastic about making positive change in their community and are able to form a team of diverse partners (nonprofit organizations, municipal leaders, local banks, real estate specialists, and others) prior to the start of the program. Residents will collectively plan for, and gain skills relating to, often-times complex community initiatives. 

 

If your goal is to mobilize a team of residents, focus your efforts, and develop and gain the skills to execute an action plan for a big project in your community, this program may be a good fit for you.  If your community has an organization that is leading or should lead this type of downtown or community development work, but needs added capacity to be able to rise to challenges, this program offers capacity building support.

Get Involved

This program typically occurs every 5 years in West Virginia and is contingent upon the FHLBank of Pittsburgh’s funding and programming. The last application process took place in 2019.

Contact program lead Kaycie Stushek about interest in the program and with any questions at k.stushek@wvhub.org.

Current Participating Communities

Past Participating Communities

Blueprint Communities Stories

Systemic Change

2021 became a time period of catalytic potential as we saw years of investment into our core strategies to enact systemic change yield new results. Our strategic focus areas include policy, communications, and supporting the community economic development system in leveraging unique financing opportunities such as the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Initiative and Opportunity Zones.

In addition, through our strategic policy support role within the Abandoned Properties Coalition, The Hub successfully advanced two key objectives: a statewide land bank and extension of the state’s Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit. 

Through the Opportunity Appalachia program, 6 catalytic community projects located in WV-based Opportunity Zones received $250,000 for pre-development technical assistance. Three projects received additional private funding as a result of program participation.

Cowen

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies. Read their community case study.

Montgomery

Residents participated in the Cultivate WV program to kickstart community and economy building. Read their community case study.

Smithers

Residents participated in the Cultivate WV program to kickstart community and economy building. Read their community case study.

Kingwood

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.

Lewis County

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.

Meadow River Valley Region

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Read their community case study.

Monticello Neighborhood of Clarksburg

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Watch their community documentary.

New Martinsville

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Read their community case study.

Parsons

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.

Elkins

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies. 

A core team led by Woodlands Development Group also participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

Community Coaching

In 2021, we accompanied 16 communities through our in-depth, professional coaching programs. In addition to leaning into coaching and financing opportunities offered through these programs, participating communities leveraged an additional $2.8 million in funding on their own for community economic development projects. While participating in our entry-level coaching program, Cultivate WV, Montgomery and Smithers realized momentum-building success through access to $40,000 in seed funding for projects like farmers markets, public art, wayfinding, community events, and development of a trail system.

Six communities, Lewis County, Kingwood, Meadow River Valley, Monticello neighborhood in Clarksburg, New Martinsville and Parsons, graduated the intermediate planning program Blueprint Communities* with strategic plans in place. We also launched a new round of HubCAP, our flagship community economic development program, in six towns located in the Monongahela National Forest region: Cowen, Franklin, White Sulphur Springs, Elkins, Marlinton, and Petersburg.

Franklin

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Marlinton

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Petersburg

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

White Sulphur Springs

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Charleston

A core team led by Crawford Holdings, LLC participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

Huntington

Core teams led by Thundercloud, Inc. and the City of Huntington participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support community development projects located in Opportunity Zones.

Grafton

A core team led by Unleash Tygart, Inc participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

Leadership Development

As hundreds of people began to engage in our virtual training activities in 2020, we saw a critical opportunity to scale and deepen our impact. This year, The Hub team developed an accessible, virtual platform with options for self-guided and group learning activities as well as professional coaching.

Kickstart Communities is now the crux of our efforts to bring new people into the work and grow their leadership. These activities now form the foundational stages of a Community Leadership Development Pipeline to move motivated residents from seeing the challenges in their communities to proactively collaborating to resolve them.

Message from our Executive Leadership Team

Fifteen years ago, stakeholders building up local communities and economies in West Virginia convened to map a coordinated strategy to systemically grow community economic development activity in the state. From the shared vision and collaborative leadership of dozens of strategic partners across the state, the WV Community Development Hub was born.

Since that time, The Hub has grown into the anchor community development organization serving West Virginia. We have built upon the original vision to create a method for rural, community-led development strategies that is uniquely tailored to the needs and opportunities of our state.

As we have grown and developed a proven model for success, our partnerships with community and economic development practitioners, funders, and committed West Virginia residents have been foundational to every element of our work.

Over the past two years, the team at The Hub has adapted to the unprecedented challenges our communities have faced during the pandemic by leaning into our core strengths to deepen our impact. The Hub remains committed to tackling persistent challenges, and we have focused our attention on the most impactful elements of our work.

We are supporting community leaders to advance their visions for local development, creating new pathways for engagement and leadership growth through our virtual training platform, and leading strategies that lift up voices of community leaders to move forward solutions to long-held challenges to growth.

If the past two years have taught us anything, it is that nothing about the future is set in stone. While the coming year may present enormous opportunities for advancement in our state, they will also inevitably require significant capacity building, shared strategies that are grounded in trust-based partnerships, and extended efforts to support the leadership development of individuals and organizations who have been asked to do more during a time of extreme stress and strain.

The services that anchor organizations like The Hub provide are even more critical in this time, and we expect our work to scale significantly in the coming years ahead.

We look forward to continuing to do the work of putting into action the vision and the shared strategies envisioned by that core group of community economic development practitioners and funders fifteen years ago.

In Continued Accompaniment,

– WV Community Development Hub
Executive Leadership Team

Stephanie Tyree

Executive Director

Amanda Workman Scott

Director of Community Engagement

Emma Pepper

Director of Strategic Network Communications

Katie Loudin

Director of Strategic Development